How to stay true to yourself this Holiday season

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Christmas will be here in 8 weeks and 6 days. I enjoy counting down because of all the things I need to do between now and then. A few years ago, I decided to approach the holiday season in a self-controlled way. I learned to tackle each task methodically while being true to myself. 

I used to lie to myself a lot. I thought everything it took to make the magic of Christmas happen was sustainable. Sure, there's a ton of work that goes into Christmas every year. The lie I believed was that being stretched thin was the only way to navigate the season. 

I said yes to too many commitments. My schedule was overfilled with things we didn't enjoy doing. I didn't plan for all the season brings. For us, it's not just Christmas morning. We start preparing in late September with rehearsals for performances. The more the kids grow, the more commitments we have because everyone is part of the school band. They also gain a circle of friends who celebrate the holiday season in different ways. We host family from out of town during the holiday season. We travel during the holiday season. I'm sure you have a list too. 

One thing I never account for is the feelings the holiday season brings. It is a season of joy which coexists with a season of sadness. We grief. We remember, we go on caroling. 

All of these things I listed are normal, acceptable, and even good. What I didn't like was the feeling of being overwhelmed. I also didn't want to be so exhausted, all I could do was lay on the couch and wish the day was over because I was so tired. 

I learned to practice the following:

Simplify - Create shortcuts - Say No - Make room for Jesus. 

When I originally decided to take this approach (you can read it here), my schedule was not as complex as today's, yet we were very busy. I learned to talk to my family so I could only keep things in our schedule that were important to everyone. We agreed on what that is in the summer. I plugged those things into my schedule. 
I plan on simplifying homemaking practices. It means we are all going to help make the season festive by cleaning and organizing together. One person can't possibly do everything and be expected to have energy to enjoy the season. I often tell the kids, "many hands make light work." It is true and it is helpful. 
What are some areas in your life that can benefit from simplifying?

Create shortcuts 
Online shopping is a shortcut. I plan on using it this season. If I can save 2 or 3 hours this season, I certainly will. Recently, I noticed that in the next month, we have 9 nights with major events. I started cooking and freezing dinner for those days. It is a shortcut for the life we are choosing as a family. What are some shortcuts you will need this holiday season?

Say No 
I started this one already. I can't say yes to everything I'm asked to do this season. I was asked to be part of a gathering. I thought about my goal for the season. I thought about my schedule. I thought about my family's goals. I had to say no. I'm glad I made that decision. Saying no has nothing to do with politeness. It is about being a good steward of the life God gave us. We measure that life with the choices we make. Saying no is important because it allows us to live our yes with greater peace and joy. Is there a No you need to say?

Make room for Jesus
Set aside your usual Sunday School and answer this question with honesty. What is God requiring of me this holiday season? How can I make room to do just that? 
He is not requiring me to be so busy that my health suffers. 
He is not requiring me to display my entire life on social media as if it was a movie. Sorry but if that's not your job, it can be time consuming, stressful and dismissive of real people who want to connect with me in real life.
God wants my heart. He wants my attention. He wants my mind. He wants me. He welcomes me as I am. God is after transformation. God wants obedience to His word.
This holiday season, I'm making time for Bible reading individually and as a family. I am making time to pray. I also want to learn more about God. 
How about you? What are you willing to do to make room for Jesus this holiday season?

Christmas will be here before we know it. I am certain we can be true to ourselves as we follow God's gentle leadership in every area of our lives. 

Let's spend this season healthier, happier, more peace and more joyful than before friends. God is with us. Let's be sure we are with Him.